Analysis on Materialism and Pink Flamingo

Essay by wordsintrigueHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2009

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"Materialism coarsens and petrifies everything, making everything vulgar, and every truth false." These profound words spoken by Swiss philosopher Henri Amiel illustrate the wretched vulgarity and superficiality of the virus-like spread of materialism. In the essay entitled "The Pink Flamingo: A Natural History" by Jennifer Price, Price examines the popularity of the well-known pink flamingo and how it relates to the ideals and whims of American culture. Using American fascination of the plastic, pink flamingo as her medium, Jennifer Price shows her evident disdain for the superficial materialism present in American society.

Jennifer Price introduces her analysis of the flamingo fad by presenting the rise of the pink flamingo in American culture and how society reacted upon the popularization of this cultural icon. Price effectively illustrates the American public's reaction to the introduction of the plastic, pink flamingo by implementing specific diction that reinforces her own opinions of the "flamingo boom".

Similar to a mindless flock of birds following each other without much thought as to why, Price writes that "Since the 1930s, vacationing Americans had been flocking to Florida and returning home with flamingo souvenirs." Price's choice to describe Americans as "flocking" is meant to establish a comparison to a flock of mindless birds; in effect, the author characterizes Americans as bandwagon followers who lack any consideration for the examination of their culture and the conceptual purpose behind their symbolic icons. The author also presents how Americans have rendered the plastic, pink flamingo as symbolic of wealth and luxury. Price states that "In the 1910s and 1920s, Miami Beach's first grand hotel, the Flamingo, had made the bird synonymous with wealth and pizzazz." In the context of the essay, terms like "wealth" and "pizzazz" possess a shallow, superficial connotation that consequently translates into the flamingo as not only...